It’s extraordinary how many good wines there are about, many at reasonable prices (considering the basic costs of producing fine wine). If you’re looking for authenticity, ample complexity and thoughtful handling of quality grapes, the challenge is not to source the wine but to sift through the options. Simply reviewing my notes from several tastings — all open to the public — has produced a list so long that it’s impossible to do justice to all the candidates.

There are important reasons why we have gone in less than 10 years from a nation whose winemakers abused fruit in a (vain) effort to make a vinous statement, to the source of the best-value wines on the planet...

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